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Do Worm Castings REALLY Work?

Monday, February 28th, 2011

People that have never tried using worm castings always ask this question, “Do Worm Castings REALLY Work”? Few people are interested in hearing about the science behind worm castings, so the best way I can think of to answer that question is by SHOWING people the results.

The video’s above were taken a week ago, and the tree in the back still looks like a stick, and the tree in the front is even more blossomed!

Castings are not magic, but they sure seem like it!

The Evolution of The Worm Inn – And MORE!

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

You may be asking yourself,  “Am I on the right website”?   Who is this guy Bentley?

I consider my Canadian friend Bentley Christie from
http://www.RedWormComposting.com the “Godfather” of The Worm Inn. Watch the video above, and you will learn about the evolution of The Worm Inn, all the way back to the creepy pants composter. It was through Bentley’s website that I saw my first Worm Inn, and it was through Bentley that I met Robyn Crispe, the designer of The Worm Inn.

At the time, Robyn was looking to do other things with her life, so I made her an offer for her business that she happily accepted. Since that time, over 1,000 Worm Inn’s have been sold, and the response has been amazing.

What’s the next logical step? A Worm Inn that has 5X the volume of the original Worm Inn. The larger unit can be used for multifamily use, and/or larger scale worm propogation. Finishing touches are now being added to the unit, and it will be available for sale shortly.

As the “Godfather” of The Worm Inn, I thought the least I could do was sponsor a contest on Bentley’s website to name the newest member of The Worm Inn family. Several Worm Inn’s are being given away. Don’t miss your chance to win!

Go to www.RedWormComposting.com for details of the contest.

Can Worms Eat Seeds?

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

If you ask 100 knowledgeable worm people if worms can eat seeds, probably 90% of them will tell you “NO”.

The reality is, worms do eat seeds…albeit indirectly. 

It’s well known that any seed will sprout in a worm bin due to all the beneficial bacteria in the environment.  But, because most sprouted seedlings need sunlight, most of these sprouts that never see the light of day will perish in the bedding.  As the sprouts decay, the worms consume them.  So, in effect, “YES” worms can eat seedlings. 🙂

Take a look:

Are You Eating Worm Food?

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Seems that many of our food manufacturer’s are adding wood pulp (cellulose) to many of our favorite foods!

http://www.thestreet.com/_yahoo/story/11012915/1/cellulose-wood-pulp-never-tasted-so-good.html?cm_ven=YAHOO&cm_cat=FREE&cm_ite=NA

SIP’s are COOL!

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

 

You are about to see the COOLEST EXPERIMENT I’ve ever done. If you like growing things, watching things grow, enjoy gardening, know someone that works with children (Teacher, Counselor, Home Schooling)..or even if you simply enjoy eating the freshest vegetables possible…this is a fantastic experiment.

What you are looking at is Sub Irrigation Planting, or SIP’s for short.   In sub irrigation planting, plants get watered from the bottom up by drawing water from a reservoir. 

How does Sub Irrigation Planting Work?  Instead of the traditional method of watering from the top down,  Sub Irrigation Planting uses a water filled reservoir along with a medium density media (“Soil”) to “Wick” the water upwards.  As the media becomes saturated, any excess goes back into the reservoir.  This constant movement of water keeps the growing area hydrated at all times, but because the media never gets overly saturated, the roots of the plants are not sitting in an anaerobic environment.

Why use Sub Irrigation Planting?  The plants get the EXACT amount of water they need,  the “Soil” (More on this later), stays damp but not wet around the roots,  but only damp to dry on top,  No wasting water due to evaporation, no fungus gnats,  AND…. the plants grow faster and larger because they are in the PERFECT growing environment.

As you can see, I spent BIG MONEY to do this experiment.  😉   $1.50 for a 2 Litre soda bottle, plus a couple of dollars in peat and vermiculite and of course, some worm castings.

After securing my 2 litre bottle, I had to figure out a way to safely cut it.  After trying many things, what I’ve found works best is using a  Ginsu knife!    These are the knives advertised as being able to cut cans, and just about anything else.   Everyone should have one of these.   The Ginsu knife goes cuts through plastic quickly, easily, and safely.

 

 

 

After cutting the bottle, you invert the bottom and use it as your reservoir. 

Fill the reservoir with water.

The top part of the bottle is used to hold your “Soil” and seeds.  I uses parenthesis around the word “soil” because with Sub Irrigation Planting, regular soil is not used.  If you go into your yard and dig out some dirt, that dirt does not draw water properly.  Clay soil will tend to stay too wet and harden into a clump.  Sandy soil will not hold water well.  What you want is a media that is fast draining, yet retains water so that it stays moist, not wet.  What I have found is that peat moss, mixed with some compost, a handful of castings, and a little vermiculite is a perfect media for a SIP.  I use 2 parts peat, 1 part compost, 1/4 part vermiculite, and 1/4 part castings.  You can vary this depending on the height of your SIP.  A taller unit will work better with some additional vermiculite.

 

 

Now comes the FUN!  Invert the top of the bottle so that what was once the narrow top of the bottle now sits upside down in the reservoir.  If you want to keep the reservoir clean, keep the screw lid on the bottle, and just drill a 1/4 inch hole so it can “SIP” from the reservoir.  If you don’t care if the reservoir gets a little dirty, simply disgard the bottle cap altogether.  A bit of the “Soil” will fall into the water, but it will soon form a plug in the neck of the bottle.

 

Your plants will sprout quickly in this environment, and once they take off…well…check this out!

 

 

This is even more gorgeous and larger in person than you can tell in the picture.  I simply cut it off at the top, and it provided an entire bowl of salad.  In a week or two, it should come back to produce another salad.   Imagine how much fun your students can have with this!

What Happens to Worms Thrown in Rotting Vegetation?

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Many people new to worms have the mistaken idea that composting worms live in rotting vegetation. They save up all their fruit and vegetable waste, throw in a pound of worms, and over the next 2-3 days, end up killing all of their worms.

The reality is that composting worms live in BEDDING and Eat rotting vegetation.

I put together a few video’s to hammer home the point.

Part 1 – Worm Daquiri’s! A pound of worm meat inhabits the inside of a pineapple.

Part 2 – Worms in trouble. This is what happens to worms after a few days in rotting vegetation (No bedding).

Part 3 – Save the worms in The Worm Inn.
Worms in a pineapple = bad!
That same pineapple in The Worm Inn, followed by the worms = very good!

Part 4 – Pineapple Party in The Worm Inn.
Unlike plastic bins…The Worm Inn can handle a LOT of produce waste. It breaks down
slowly and aerobically. Conversly, Waste in a plastic worm bin breaks down poorly and turns acidic quickly. Think rotting fruit in a bucket…NASTY. Plastic just doesn’t breathe no matter how many holes you put in it.

Test Your Worm IQ

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

http://www.julieorrdesign.com/which-worms-are-best-for-composting

Worms got ya all mixed up?   Thinking of throwing a Canadian Nightcrawler in your Arizona garden bed? 

Do you want a composting worm, but don’t know which type to buy?

Read all about using the right worm for the job in Julie Orr Design’s website.

Hungry Yet?

Monday, January 31st, 2011

 

Have you ever seen broccoli grown before?  Don’t be embarrassed, most of us urbanites have no idea about what our everyday foods look like growing.  We only know what they look like:

On the shelf, in the store

After being transported by truck thousands of miles

After sitting in a distribution warehouse

After being picked from the fields

With minimal effort, you could be eating fresh young broccoli right from the backyard.  YUM!  I picked a dozen small heads for dinner tonight.  I’ve also got a rare brocolli growing called Romanesco.  It grows in a cone shape and is a brocolli/cauliflower cross that is supposed to have a nutty flavor.  I’ll post pictures of the Romanesco soon.

If you are a teacher, have friends that are teachers, or know a teacher…have them watch for a special upcoming blog.   I’ve got a VERY cool,  simple,  ultra low cost project that I will be blogging about shortly.  PERFECT for schools as your students will LOVE this project.

Just click on this link:  http://www.thewormdude.com/category/worm-blog/

Or

click on my “Subscribe in a reader” button(See above) to be notified when updates occur.

Another one of my Favorite Websites!

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

Here’s another one of my favorite websites. This guy is very down to earth, and LOVES to experiment (Now you’re talking)! I subscribe to this site on www.youtube.com

This particuliar video talks about getting rid of fungus gnats. Fungus gnats often live in worm bins. The initial trial using fly paper is nothing big….but take a look at the product he tries at the end of the video. VERY INGENIUS.

Strawberries and Ahaaaaa Moments

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

 

If you’re lucky, one of the benefits of getting older is the ability to use past experiences in order to NOT repeat them. 🙂    When I was younger, I would plant things, and watch them grow, and not necessarily reap any benefits.  Here’s an example.  How many times have you planted strawberries, only to watch them come up big and beautiful…only to rot in the dirt?  

Last week, I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off,  looking for straw to lay underneath the 40 strawberries I was about to plant.   I knew full well that I would either have to pay through the nose buying straw in bags from a pet store, or, I was going to have an extremely messy car buying straw in a bale.  I wasn’t particuliarly excited about either option.

I said to myself….self, how do the pro’s grow strawberries?  Self said back….they use fabric that let’s water flow through!

So….with a roll of Weedstop, I did this……

 

 

I then just cut some slits in the fabric and planted my 40 strawberry starts.    I should be a couple of months away from a “Sea of Green”…and RED. 🙂

 

 

Y’all can thank me later for this design…..you know you wanna try it. 🙂